Support for the Waihopai Ploughshares trial
February 2010The trial of the Waihopai Ploughshares team is set to begin in Wellington on 8 March 2010, and the Wellington Ploughshares Support Group now has a range of activities planned to take place before and during the trial. This page is to provide information about the planned activities, as well as to invite you and your organisation to become involved - wherever you are based, you do not need to be in Wellington to support Waihopai Ploughshares before and during the trial.
There are eight sections below:
At 6am on the morning of 30 April 2008, three members of a Christian Ploughshares team entered the Waihopai spy base and used sickles to deflate one of the two 30 metre domes covering satellite interception dishes. They then built a shrine and prayed for the victims of the war with no end - the so-called 'war on terror' led by the US government which also controls the NZ taxpayer funded Waihopai base.
More information about Waihopai Ploughshares is available at http://ploughshares.org.nz and http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/plshares.htm and information about the Waihopai spy base is at http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/waihopai.html.
Support for Waihopai Ploughshares wherever you are
It would be great if you or your organisation could organise a support activity in your community, town or city, or your place of worship - keeping in mind and respecting the non-violent philosophy of Ploughshares. There are a range of things you could do - write letters to the editor of your local or national print media; organise a public vigil or picnic or other public demonstration of support for Waihopai Ploughshares; arrange for prayers to be said in the run up to, and during the trial, in your place of worship; organise a public meeting to spread the word about the Waihopai spy base and Ploughshares; circulate the sign-on support statement which will be available next week ... and we're sure you can think of more.
Please feel free to contact the Wellington Ploughshares Support Group to discuss your ideas, or to let us know what resources might be useful for you, or other ways we can help. If you are planning an event or activity that others can take part in, please send us the details as soon as possible for inclusion on the Ploughshares support web page.
If you do not wish to become involved in organising a support event or activity, there are other ways you can help:
'Let's shut down Waihopai' CD
Another way you can support Waihopai Ploughshares and help spread the word is to get a copy of the 'Let's shut down Waihopai' CD by Jeff Simmonds, and let others know about it. The CD has five songs - Let's Shut Down Waihopai, So You Say, Woe to the City, The Book of Obadiah, I Don't Like the Poor - and interviews with the Waihopai Ploughshares team, Sam, Peter and Adi. A video of the title track is available here if you would like a preview. The CDs are $20 each; please email Jeff to order yours.
Media spokespeople and statements
A reminder that Waihopai Ploughshares has designated media spokespeople, so if you are putting out any media release/s or talking to reporters, please make it clear that you are speaking for your group or yourself as a concerned citizen (or however you choose to describe yourself) rather than Waihopai Ploughshares.
Wellington planning meetings every Thursday
Waihopai Ploughshares support planning meetings, for everyone interested in organising around the trial, are now being held every Thursday, at the US Embassy, corner Fitzherbert Terrace and Murphy Street, Thorndon (under the gazebo in the park if raining) - shared meal and planning meeting from 6pm to 7.30pm, followed by revolutionary Bible studies. If you are unable to attend the meetings, but are interested in becoming involved, please contact the Wellington Ploughshares Support Group.
Waihopai spy base display at the Wellington central library
The Anti-Bases Campaign's Waihopai spy base display is currently set up in the Wellington central library entrance foyer (until Sunday, 28 February), and it will be there again from Monday, 8 March, until Sunday, 14 March.
Outline of events in Wellington around the trial
As mentioned above, the Wellington Ploughshares Support Group is organising a range of activities around the trial in Wellington, as is the Anti Bases Campaign and other groups.
Wellington Ploughshares Support has permission to use a Wellington park before and during the trial, and supporters will gather there from 5pm on Saturday, 6 March, for a welcome, shared meal, speakers and discussion. On Sunday, 7 March, there will be Mass in the morning, followed by workshops and discussion, a peace walk organised by Wellington Catholic Peacemakers in the afternoon, and a peace concert in the evening is being considered.
On Monday morning, there will be a support rally starting from 8.30am at the Cenotaph (corner of Bowen Street and Lambton Quay), a silent procession to the District Court in Ballance Street at 9am, and a silent vigil outside the court as the trial gets underway. From 1pm to 2pm, there will be the first of the daily lunchtime pickets with space for silent / prayerful vigil, jointly organised by the Anti-Bases Campaign, Peace Movement Aotearoa and the Wellington Ploughshares Support Group - the lunchtime picket /vigils are scheduled at different locations every day from Monday, 8 March, to Friday, 12 March.
Also on Monday, 8 March, there will be a Women Say No to War / Women Say No to Spy Bases action, organised by Peace Movement Aotearoa and Women Support Waihopai Ploughshares, in the early evening to mark both the opening of the trial and International Women's Day. On Tuesday, 9 March, there will be Stations of the Cross around relevant Wellington institutions in the early evening; and there is a public meeting organised by the Anti-Bases Campaign in the evening on Wednesday, 10 March.
In addition, there will prayer vigils at different times of the day throughout the trial, and an hour of taizé worship to close each evening.
The full schedule of events, with times and places as well as contact details for the organising groups, is now available on the Waihopai Ploughshares trial support activities page.
If you are able to help with leafleting, an information table in the central city during the trial, or any of the other practical tasks which need to be done, please contact the Wellington Ploughshares Support Group as soon as possible and let us know how you can help. Thank you.
Statement of the Waihopai ANZAC Ploughshares, 30 April 2008
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation; and there shall be no more training for war. Isaiah 2/4
This morning, 30 April 2008, we entered the Waihopai Spy Base near Blenheim.
Our group, including a Dominican Priest, temporarily closed the base by padlocking the gates and proceeded to deflate one of the large domes covering two satellite dishes.
At 6am we cut through three security fences surrounding the domes - these are armed with razor wire, infrared motion sensors and a high voltage electrified fence.
Once inside we used sickles to cut one of the two 30-metre white domes, built a shrine and knelt in prayer to remember the people killed by United States military activity.
We have financed our activities through personal savings, additional part-time employment and a small interest-free loan from one of our supporters.
We are responding to the Bush administration’s admission that intelligence gathering is the most important tool in the so-called War on Terror. This war will have no end until citizens of the world refuse to let it continue. The ECHELON spy network including Waihopai, is an important part of the US government’s global spy network and we have come in the name of the Prince of Peace to close it down.
The base is funded by New Zealand tax payers and located on New Zealand soil which makes New Zealand a target through our association with the UKUSA intelligence cooperation agreement.
Five years ago the Clark government opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq. Yet at the same time the Bush administration was using the National Security Agency’s ECHELON system, of which Waihopai is an integral component, to spy on UN Security Council members so it could more easily swing them in favour of an invasion.
There have been over 100 Ploughshares actions over the last twenty years around the world. Ploughshares direct actions are linked through the common factors of: entry to locations connected to military activity, Christian prayers and most involve some form of property destruction.